By Linda Scrivner

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association held its annual award banquet on Friday evening, Dec. 5, at the Franklin Cool Springs Marriott. Following a welcome by Executive Director Stan Butt, the invocation by Wayne Dean and a delicious meal, Victor Gernt, III served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
The 2009 Executive Board was recognized and included President David Pruett, Senior Vice President Robert Thomas, Breeders Vice President Dee Dee Sale, Enforcement Vice President Rick Womack, Horse Shows Vice President Bruce Vaughn, Owners/Exhibitors Vice President Kathy Zeis, Performance Horse Vice President Wayne Dean, Pleasure Horse Vice President Rick Wies, Marketing Vice President Kasey Kesselring, Training Vice President Chris Bobo, Member At Large/By Laws Vice President Debra Jack and Member At Large/Youth Vice President Christy Lantis.
The evening’s awards began by honoring the 2009 World Grand Champion Watch It Now. Watch It Now is owned by Bill and Sandra Johnson and stands at the Johnsons’ Waterfall Farms. He was bred by Jack Littrell and trained by Jimmy McConnell. The WIN family has been very generous in sharing this wonderful horse with his fans with special exhibitions including the International Performance Grand Championships, North Carolina Championships, Middle Tennessee State University Homecoming and the University of Tennessee Homecoming. In addition to being a great champion, Watch It Now has definitely proven himself to be a great breed ambassador.  
The next to be honored was the 2009 TWHBEA World Versatility Show Overall High Point Champion, Genius Country Rose. She is owned by Jan Hart and Natalie Wilboune, bred by Donald Marshall and trained by Kevin Gilliam.
In 2008 the decision was made to reinstate the Futurity Graduate Award. On our way to this goal, this year they recognized a 2009 yearling filly and a 2009 yearling colt with National Futurity Horizon Awards. These honorees showed at the National Futurity as weanlings and yearlings and accumulated the best record at the show among all horses of their age that showed these two years. The Yearling Filly Horizon Champion was Naomis Watchin Over Me, owned by Bobbikay Hein and the Yearling Colt Horizon Champion was Good Til The Last Drop, owned by Ashley Womack Say and Patricia Hoffman. The Weanling Filly Horizon Champion was Miss Cheyenne, owned by Larry Mesimer and the Weanling Colt Horizon Champin was The Master Of Blues, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Brantley.
They also recognized the 2009 yearlings that placed at the National Futurity as both weanling and yearlings. They were CP3, owned by Allen Curtis; A Rainy Day Woman, owned by Charles and Joy Gleghorn; Miss Cover Girl, owned by Larry Mesimer and Saturday Night Specialist, owned by Barry and Corey Reece.
The Regional Futurity Premier Sires and Dams of the Year awards were presented next. The Premier Sire for the Bi-State Regional Futurity was Hillbilly’s Bud Lite, owned by Brad Woodruff. The Premier Dam for the Bi-State Regional Futurity was Papa’s Ginger Cookie, also owned by Brad Woodruff. The Premier Sire for the Midwest Regional Futurity was Generator’s Gold Edition, owned by Michael Young. The Premier Dam for the Midwest Regional Futurity was Ivory’s Golden Girl, owned by Donald Heuer. The Premier Sire for the Ohio Regional Futurity was Genius’ Boy Prime Time, owned by Kathleen Hughes. The Premier Dam for the Ohio Regional Futurity was Elmer’s Tune, owned by Ella Kline. The Premier Sire for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity was Dr. Mike, owned by Ella Kline. The premier Dam for the Upper Cumberland Regional Futurity was Gen’s Lit’l Sunshine, also owned by Ella Kline. The Premier Sire for the Western Canada Regional Futurity Was Gen’s Copyright, owned by Mona McMillan and Ian Smith. The Premier Dam for the Western Canada Regional Futurity was Fancy’s Thunder, owned by Randall and Sande Hirsekorn. The Premier Sire for the Western International Regional Futurity was Dun In Ultra Gold, owned by Allan and Nancy O’Dell Plunkett. The Premier Dam for the Western International Regional Futurity was She’s Designed To Push, owned by Kyle and Elaine Elliott.
The GO! Gelding Program is broken down by age into four disciplines and the winners are those that accumulated the most points overall during the year in their discipline. The winners of the GO! Super Gelding Awards were Flat-Shod Super Gelding of 2009 Rebelation, owned by Linda Starnes and Performance Super Gelding of 2009 I’m Rocky Balboa, owned by Proctor Dean.
The Easy Rider Distance Horse and Rider team of the year spent over 400 hours on the trails around their Englewood, Tenn. home. They were Champagne Bliss and Ronnie Slack.
TWHBEA recognized the TWHYA officers: President Courtney Hicks, Vice President Maggie Mae White, Secretary/Treasurer Jake Politte and Parliamentarian Staci Williams. At that time, the TWHYA officers recognized Christy Lantis for her efforts and to say “Thank You”. This was Lantis’ last year as Member At Large/Youth Vice President.
This year TWHYA members voted to introduce a new award named in honor of the late Lizzie Umberger. The recipient of the Lizzie Umberger Sportsmanship Award was voted on by TWHYA members and was Maggie Mae White. The TWHYA Outstanding Youth Member of the Year was Zach Carmichael. This young man has spent the past year doing his utmost to promote his breed of choice. His accomplishments include a 4-H Achievement Award and top placings in TWHBEA’s photography and essay contests.
Carol Wakefield was awarded the 2009 TWHBEA Youth Ambassador for her over 40 years of working with kids in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. Wakefield is a TWHBEA certified riding instructor that has taught five championship equitation riders and is currently employed as an instructor at Montverde Academy in Florida.
This year two individuals were honored as Performance Horse Ambassador. Both are men who have committed themselves to the betterment of the performance horse. These two men from Kentucky have became an advocate for the Tennessee Walking Horse and in 2009 they were name Co-Compliance Coordinators for the SHOW HIO. This year’s Performance Horse Ambassador Award went to Dr. Stephen Mullins and Dr. John Bennett.
The 2009 TWHBEA Pleasure Horse Ambassador Award went to Tracy Pinson, a breeders, an owner, an exhibitor and a clinician. Pinson has taken it upon herself to compete and succeed in all-breed competitions, such as Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race. She and Skyjacker’s Mountain High are the 2009 Extreme Cowboy Non-Pro Division World Champions.
Sid Baucom, Barbara Civils, Carole Hargett, Dr. Bob Womack and Marsha Yzaguirre were awarded TWHBEA Friendship Awards since they played a valuable role in assisting TWHBEA with various projects over the past year. TWHBEA Member of the Year was awarded to member Elsie Darrah who has generously donated her time and effort over the past several years to assist the Association in better identifying the various coat colors and patterns present in the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. She has also written several very informative articles on coat color for the Voice and she has played an integral part in updating the Association’s online pedigree database, iPeds.
The Reese L. Smith, Jr. Distinguished Service Award was awarded to Bill Harlin for his long history of service within the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. He was a three-term past president who promoted respect and unity within the industry and moved the breed association forward with several significant projects, such as the bloodtyping program.
The TWHBEA Master Breeders Award recognizes those breeders whose body of work over an extended period of time has had a significant and long-lasting impact on the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. This year five Master Breeders Awards were bestowed to S.W. Beech, Jr., James R. Brantley. Albert Dement, Harlinsdale Farm, and H. L. Worrell. S.W. Beech, Jr.’s Award was accepted by his sons, Steve, Bobby and Ray Beech. James R. Brantley was accepted by his grandson, Charles Brantley. Accepting on behalf of Mr. Dement was his granddaughter Betty Dement. Bill Harlin and Jim Hayes accepted the award on behalf of Harlinsdale Farm. H.L. Worrell was present to accept his award.
The TWHBEA Dam of the Year By Points and By Percentage Points was Spirit’s Delightful Dream. She has produced five offspring including She’s Doubly Delightful who claimed 53 blue ribbons in 2009, including four National Championships.
She was bred by Rebecca Singleton and owned by Jennifer Batts. The TWHBEA Sire ofthe Year By Points was once again José José. Owned by William B. and Sandra Johnson and bred by Dr. and Mrs. Rafael Rigual. His offspring include 2009 World Grand Champions Catastrophic and Suiza and World Champions Muchos Colores, Jose’s Rhythm Lady, Santa Emelia, Jose’s Quervo Gold, ACC, A Victoria Secret and She’s One Hot Tamale.
The Top Sire of the Year By Percentage was Cash’s Blackjack, owned by Beverly Burgess and James H. Harless and was bred by Jacqueline Whatley. His offspring include 2009 World Champion Priscilla Cash and winner’s circle regulars The Pit Boss, My Blackeyed Susan, Cash’s Ace Of Spade and Blackjack Woman.

The Sire Summary Outstanding Sire of the Year went to José José. This award is based on 50 percent combination of actual points and percentage points as well as several other statistical categories presented each year in TWHBEA’s Sire Summary. 
Executive Director Stan Butt recognized President David Pruett for his untiring efforts. The banquet ended with closing remarks by President Pruett.